1.How long have you been in your city? When did you first visit your city?
I’ve only been living in San Francisco for a little over a year. I was previously living down in LA, but decided to move north after a year of being in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend @Harperbf. It was time to be in the same city! I grew up in Northern California, so I was always familiar with San Francisco as a kid. I would always love going to the city for class fieldtrips to the many different museums. I remember always being in awe as we rode over the bridge in that school bus. It’s not hard to fall in love with this place.
2.Where should people stay and visit?
I always encourage visitors to try and avoid the touristy Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf areas. Go there if you must, but there are so many better places to experience! Most of the hotels are located downtown in those areas, but I would recommend renting an apartment in the Castro or Mission Districts instead. There are so many great parks and cafes in those neighborhoods. They are also super walkable and connected to an easy to navigate public transportation system. While exploring the Mission, you’ll definitely want visit Dolores Park. I recommend grabbing an ice cream cone from Bi-rite (the soft serve line is always shorter) and walking up to the top for some incredible views and great people watching. In the Castro you should definitely stop by Reveille Coffee for a good latte and Hot Cookie for your classic penis shaped cookies.
3. Give us a tour of your gayborhood?
Harper and I live in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood, an area located between the Castro and the Lower Haight districts. It is known for its beautiful tree lined streets and adorable dog park. It feels quaint and quiet, yet it is conveniently walking distance to all of the best bars and restaurants. It is also a short walk to Corona Heights Park, which I always call San Francisco’s Runyon. It’s a brief, but steep hike to the top of a hilltop that has an amazing overlook of the whole city. Definitely a great place to watch the sunset.
4.Where do gentlemen go for brunch?
There are so many top notch brunch spots. Our favorites are probably Zazie’s in Cole Valley or Brenda’s in NoPa. Zazie’s is your more traditional French type brunch (Amazing bendicts), while Brenda’s is more Louisiana southern comfort (get the beignet flight to share). If we’re not feeling the long waits, our secret no line brunch spot is Blacksands. It’s a short walk from our place and we always sit down right away. It’s a cute spot with great food. I recommend their egg sandwich or the French toast! If you’re wanting a classic diner experience, you have to go to Casto’s Orphan Andy’s. This quirky place is a Gay institution, with sassy servers and a great history.
5.What’s a hidden gem?
One of my favorite hidden gems is the Ampersand flower shop. It can be found in an unassuming alley off a busy street in the Mission. It is basically a tiny turquoise barn filled with tons of lovely flowers. It was started by an adorable gay couple a few years back, and it is where I’ll often stop after work to surprise Harper with a bouquet of flowers. It is one of our favorite spots, and Harper actually surprised me last year by renting it out for my Birthday party. It’s not a big place, but it is always filled with lots of charm and friendly florists.
6.What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
My favorite dining experience has definitely been Leo’s Oyster Bar. We went there for our two year anniversary a few months back. Leo’s is best known for their fun wallpaper, amazing seafood and to-die-for-cocktails. The whole time the staff treated us as if we were royalty. They discovered it was our anniversary and kept filling our glasses with complimentary champagne, bringing out appetizers, and even a delicious dessert at the end. At one point the manager of the restaurant came over to refill our drinks and congratulate us. They made our dining experience very memorable, and I would definitely recommend it for a nice night out.
7.What’s your perfect day in San Francisco?
I love my Sunday mornings in San Francisco. Harper and I will usually sleep in a bit, and then make waffles and a large French press. We’ll enjoy a slow morning, and after a bit I’ll go for a good 4-5 mile run through nearby Golden Gate Park. No cars are allowed in the park on Sundays, which makes it extra peaceful for long jogs and bike rides. When I get back I like to walk over to Duboce Park and read on the hill for a bit. Sometimes Harper will join, and other times I’ll just take a nap in the sun. We’ll usually go for a walk after and explore new streets in the neighborhood, typically ending at our favorite coffee shops/ cafés. We’ll hang there for a while before heading back to make some dinner. If our walks go long, sometimes we’ll try out a new bar for a cocktail. We also always try and find a good spot to catch the sunset. The city is built on hills, which means there is usually a good view at the top of every incline. It is the perfect way to end a week and mentally prepare for another.
Justin Blomgren is a lifestyle and fashion blogger based in San Francisco CA. His blog www.justincblomgren.com